Yes, Polly's spouting nonsense again


So once again Polly Toynbee steps into the breach to tell us all about the gender pay gap. And at one point she's spouting simple nonsense:

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the gap for median hourly earnings standing at 19%.

No, they don't. And Polly has been told this many a time. By Sir Michael Scholar no less. To mix the part and full time pay rates to gain a general gender pay gap is a "misleading quantification" which "may undermine public trust in official statistics".

The full time pay gap is 9.4%, the part time pay gap is a negative 6.5%.

However, Polly does in fact get one part of it correct:

A bigger question is why is it still women who do most of the caring?

That is indeed the cause of the gender pay gap that we can see, something more properly known as the motherhood pay gap. And we agree that we're not scientists or biologists but we do have a small sneaking suspicion that this might be to do with humans being a dimorphous and viviparous mammalian species. Sometimes this doesn't matter at all, as with who we decide should be bus drivers. At other times it matters rather a lot, as we decide who should bear a child to term. And we don't insist at all that it does matter when considering the question of who cares for children and families. Rather, we just note that the vast majority of human beings act as if they do think it matters. And that's the thing that will have to be changed if that gap is to disappear.

Which, given that the gap is thus the outcome of how people prefer to organise their lives, means that we think the remnant gap is of no importance at all.